by Derek Kerton

Filed Under:
fixed mobile convergence

british telecom

British Telecom Drops Fusion Fixed-Mobile Convergence System; Is FMC DOA?

from the next-time-don't-be-so-optimistic dept

British Telecom has pulled the plug on its Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) offering, Fusion. In 2005, the concept of Fixed Mobile Convergence was red hot. FMC involved using a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radio in a cell phone to transfer calls back and forth between the cellular network, and a broadband-based network in the home of office. Ostensibly, this would be appealing to subscribers because it would allow them to access cheaper VoIP tariffs, rather than cellular minutes, on the broadband network -- thus saving money. However, we were initially skeptical of the appeal of this complicated product because last we heard, many subscribers don't even use the mobile minutes they have bought each month. The complicated FMC phones cost more, use more battery, and offer very little by way of choice.

Meanwhile, carriers that did offer the service (Orange in France) had early success, but were then easily matched (warning: pdf!) by mobile carriers without FMC (Bouygues Telecom) that simply lowered their tariffs on calls made from the home cell tower. But in 2005, I got over-enthusiastic about British Telecom’s Fusion offering, because if FMC made sense for any carrier, it was this one. BT is the incumbent provider of broadband services in the UK, already offers the consumer premise equipment to subscribers, owns an outdoor Wi-Fi network, but does not own a mobile network. They pay wholesale rates to Vodafone and sell mobile as an MVNO. Thus, any traffic they can get off of Vodafone and onto the DSL would save real costs. Unfortunately, the subscribers didn’t see how lowering the costs for BT was particularly important to them. No surprise, really, since Mike noted that BT failed to pass over the lower costs to the subscribers. But in conclusion, if FMC failed at BT, where it fit best, it will be difficult to make a business case for it elsewhere.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpass, Feb 8th, 2008 @ 1:48pm

    Ok, may be comment on US market?!

    Your link to T-Mobile commentary is for 2005. We are pretty solidly in 2008 right now, would you like to comment on T-Mobile's @home offering? For those people that travel, wifi capability and hence VOIP, is quite a boon, since most hotels catering to businessmen offer wifi hotspots.
    The 2005 commentary about the phones being complicated and power hungry no longer has as much relevance any more either, seeing how more than one phone offers this feature (I bet you can name one yourself off the top of your head) without much of a usability penalty.
    This type of service might not become the de facto standard, but it certainly has its place in the market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    wirelessman, Feb 8th, 2008 @ 1:51pm


    It makes you wonder about the fate of FMC's cousin, femtocells. The two technologies always seemed to be aiming at the same scenario: get people off the cell network and onto their broadband when making calls at home. I never understood what was in it for the consumer. Apparently BT subscribers felt the same way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Most of the people I know, Feb 8th, 2008 @ 2:00pm

    Place in the market

    Most of the people I know who use this kind of service travel outside of the US. This allows them to have a US local number even when out of country if they are in reach of a wi-fi spot. This prevents them from having to use long distance calls or local sim cards while on travel.

    And then there's folks like me who just flat out don't have any cell reception at there house. What would be really nice though is if I could get it to recognize my wifi network at home and then let me answer on any of my home phones with voip service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2008 @ 9:15am


    Maybe you missed it but the company is called BT they have not been "British Telecom" since the 2nd April 1991.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Russell, Feb 9th, 2008 @ 10:47am


    Did this fail at BT or did BT screw it up? Sounds like BT screwed it up by not passing the savings along.

    Any technological advance which does not result in a perceived advantage to the user will have difficulty in reaching sustainable mass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    jack, Mar 5th, 2008 @ 7:13am

    The elctronics specialist!Shop now for the best co

    "http://www.buy-elec.co.uk/" is a highly efficient online-shop which specialized in retail and wholesale electronics,such as car accessories,computer accessories,digital products,clock and weather station,chargers and all kind of batteries like SONY,ACER,IBM,BENQ,HP,APPLE,COMPAQ,etc.Our aim is to bring the best selection of products at the lowest prices possible, while providing the highest level of service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Michael Stanford, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    BT Fusion isn't the only FMC

    The apparent failure of BT Fusion may not be a valid indicator for all FMC. FMC from fixed providers is a very different proposition that from mobile operators, as explained in this post: http://umatoday.blogspot.com/2007/01/why-fusion-hasnt-fused.html.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    nitestorm, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 11:34pm


    Would actually be good if the handset worked within 5 meters of the wifi point... had a samsung handset and was completely useless in hotels and at home.. plus every time i tried to call BT to pay they had a billing system faliure or a complete system faliure or the guy on the end of the phone had such a strong foreign accent I could'nt understand them... oh and couldnt register my account for online billing as it didnt recognise my account, so left several messages asking about it....guess what...a system problem... switched to vodaphone, appauling service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    nitestorm, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 11:42pm


    This is why fusion failed.... im not the only one saying it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    sirgeraldbirkiin, Aug 5th, 2009 @ 12:43pm


    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! A recent article states that "FMC Telecom is adding SMS to the company fold". This is nothing but MORE name-dropping and empty technology dribble to form ANOTHER "shell" holding company for Ed Berkhof. Who does he think he is? Allen Stanford? Ed Berkhof and his previous co-conspirator, Sidney D. "Trip" Camper used name dropping, donations to St. Jude's, and falsified tax documents to gain trust and get private investors to hand over thousands of dollars in cash, trips to England, and ultimately control of their company. Ed berkhof is NOT a president or COO of anything - Ed Berkhof is a third rate bass player looking for another victim to give him money so he can pay his creditors = PONZI. SEC files state that Sidney Trip Camper was fired from Elandia by Allen Stanford when the Ahkoy family's business fell victim to investment fraud. Before the ink was dry on his resignation letter, Trip Camper and Ed Berkhof were already busy ruining ANOTHER company - in Los Angeles. Trip Camper and Ed Berkhof illegally signed over company stock to themselves and eventually performed a hostile takeover and ruined an honest and profitable company. The FBI has nabbed Allen Stanford and is now looking for other schemers in his network like Sidney D. Trip Camper and Ed Berkhof.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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